Of great interest to cryptozoologists is a brief account in John Gregorson Campbell’s Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland (1900) of the Big Beast of Loch Awe, and enormous animal which was heard—but rarely seen—in winter breaking the ice as it moved in and out of the frozen loch to hunt and swim.
Like so many other lake monsters, the true nature and appearance of this Big Beast also known as Beathach Mòr Loch Odha is shrouded in mystery.
According to some eyewitnesses’ accounts, the beast resembled a giant horse, but others described it as a colossal eel. What it's known for certain is that the Big Beast of Loch Awe is a large and powerful creature with twelve legs, something along the lines of an enormous centipede.
In his book, John Gregorson Campbell also mentions that, tired of seeing their cattle disappear, the farmers from around Loch Awe would occasionally tried to capture the beast using a sheep made fast to a cable secured round an oak as bait, but that as yet no tackle had been found sufficiently strong to hold it.
In a lengthy footnote, Gregorson Campbell adds that on one of his excursions he met a farmer who was watching for the creature while his two sons were poking around with dung forks in the deep holes where the beast was supposed to be lying. The farmer himself was armed with a musket loaded with six-pences, as rumor had it, the creature was vulnerable to silver shot only.
It has been a long time since the Big Beast was last seen. Its existence is all but forgotten along the shores of Loch Awe.
-Spence, L., 1945. The magic arts in Celtic Britain. Courier Corporation.
-Robinson, M. 1965. Some fabulous beasts. Folklore 76, no. 4: 273-287.